Sep 19, 2017

How to: Make DIY Rustic Masculine Candles

How to make a reusable rustic candle. Photos: Gabriel Cabrera

Can't get into the floral smells and garish artwork of storebought candles? Nope, us either. So  we came up with our very own DIY version to make a reusable rustic candle that any guy can be proud to burn in his home. (Or log cabin?)

Scented candles can be quite expensive and usually super fragrant... which is totally fine if you're relaxing at the spa with cucumbers over your eyes. (We're not judging...) So, we suggest making your own affordable candles in a reusable container that can be filled up over and over. Light it up. 

How To Make a Reusable Rustic Candle

How to make a reusable homemade candle. Photos: Gabriel Cabrera


  • Rustic mug or container (try an enamel mug designed for camping, or an old cup from the secondhand store)
  • A penny
  • Essential oil of your choice. We recommend: cinnamon, pine, cedar, or citronella (acts a mosquito repellent too!). NOTE: It's very important that you check that the oil is suitable for candle making as some oils can only be used for low-temp projects (e.g. soaps).
  • 1/2 a pound-ish of wax - For this project we used 24 candles from the dollar store. *See more details below.
  • Candle wick (you can buy one at your local craft store or you can use one from the melted candles).
  • A chopstick or wooden skewer
  • A bowl and a saucepan to make a double boiler.

* You can purchase wax at your local craft store, but it can be a bit pricey, at around $20 or more per pack. Instead, we went to the dollar store and bought a few packs of "emergency candles." For the amount needed for this project we spent around $4.00 USD.

How to make a reusable rustic candle

Make it:

1: Make a double boiler by placing a bowl over a pot with water (make sure the water's not touching the bowl). Bring water to a boil and reduce heat so it simmers.

2: Add wax/candles and let them melt. Add a few drops of the essential oil. Stir with a chopstick. 

3: While everything is melting - "glue" the penny to the candle wick by using a few drops of wax. Place the penny right in the center of the cup and tie a knot around the chopstick to keep it from moving.

How to make a reusable rustic candle

4: *Carefully* start pouring the hot, scented wax into the cup. Save a a bit of wax for any touch ups.

5: The wax will contract a bit while it cools down. If it shrinks too much around the edges, use the left over wax to fill up any holes.

6: Cut the excess wick and light it up!

How to make a rustic candle


  • Got wax on your clothing? No worries, just place a piece of newspaper on top of it and iron it on high heat. Once you get rid of it, rinse the spot in hot water.
  • Don't want to use a double boiler? Then buy microwaveable soy wax at the craft store. Nuke it and follow the same steps above.
  • NEVER heat the wax directly on the stove as it could ignite. Yikes!

And...that's it. Once the candle is consumed, refill it with more wax. That's another brand new candle for just a few bucks. Use it at home while reading, in the kitchen to get rid of strong smells, or to light your camp in the backcountry. 


This post was originally published in June 2013. We're sharing it again because it's camping season! 


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Will on Feb 10, 2018:

Easy plans, but 1 tip, waxing the wick to the penny doesnt work too well once you pour your hot wax on top. Try using a nut or washer to tie your wick around. MUCH Easier to center the wick

Jonathan Merage on Sep 24, 2017:

Very creative! This is so brilliant.

Jeff on Aug 12, 2014:

Bacon grease won't really make it smell like bacon. I used an old tea light holder (poker themed) and just poured bacon grease in it using regular string as a wick. The only time you smell bacon is when you blow it out and only for a second or two. It's basically a white, unscented candle. I had the string and holder on hand, and the grease is leftover, so it basically cost me nothing.

Tom on Jul 18, 2014:

How much essential oil do you recommend using?

Angela Vincent on Jan 21, 2014:

I agree with Ben D - the size of wick really has to match the diameter of your candle or all that happens is that the wax will flood in and put your wick out. So - use a thicker, longer-burning wick OR put several thinner wicks into your mug :-)

Pari on Sep 23, 2013:

Rustic candles in tea cups seems great....These days, more and more modern fashion and lifestyle brands are churning out candles with frangnace.

Gabriel on Aug 13, 2013:

Thanks for your feedback and tips fellas! Will def. take note for the next candle project! :)

candle on Aug 12, 2013:

I just love this project....I have made many mug candles they look gorgeous and are a fantastic piece of decor. The bbest thing I like about them are that the mugs can be reused again again until they are not broken.

Ben D. on Jul 31, 2013:

I like everything about this but the wick is way too small for the size of your candle. Also, beeswax is a fantastic option, as it burns longer and better.

Andrew on Jul 29, 2013:

Emergency candles are usually made from parraffin, for scented candles you should use like palm or soy wax because it's better for your health. Parraffin wax contains some bad ingredients that can be bad for your lungs when you inhale it over and over again. 

Anyways, nice manly looking candles!